Updated: Dec 1, 2020
The college basketball season officially tipped off today, and Carolina began their campaign with a 79-60 win over the Cougars from the College of Charleston. For the first time since the 2008 Regional Final against Georgetown, Carolina started two freshmen in the backcourt, in Caleb Love and R.J. Davis. Carolina put three starters in double figures scoring, led by the rookie Love, who scored a game high 17 points on 4-11 shooting. Day’Ron Sharpe was a force off the bench for Carolina, recording a double-double in his appearance as a Tar Heel. You knew with this being the season opener, and the fact that they were playing in front of no fans that the game would be choppy, and that it was. Charleston actually took a brief lead, before a 21-3 Tar Heel run allowed the Tar Heels to take control, and pull away for a comfortable first win of the season.
With the shortened non-conference season, there aren’t as many gimmies for Carolina, which is why they need to stack wins when they can. It’s also important for them to improve on a game by game basis, as they don’t have the time to take months to improve as a basketball team. All the freshmen made their way onto the court, and all gave you a glimpse of what we can expect from them in the coming years in Chapel Hill. Here’s what stood out in the season opening win for UNC:
Garrison Brooks said during the team’s media session before the season, that he expects the team to be the best rebounding team in college basketball. If tonight was a indication of things to come, he may be correct. Carolina out-rebounded the inferior Cougars, 49-34, including winning the rebounding battle 31-16 in the second half. The Tar Heels were able to use their size and strength to wear down the smaller opponent from the CAA.
Second Chance Points:
As mentioned above, Carolina dominated the glass, the offensive glass in particular. The Tar Heels grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and turned them into 30 second chance points. That generated some offense for a team that will need to find different ways to score the basketball as the season moves along. On the flipside they limited Charleston to just 8 offensive rebounds, and 10 second chance points.
It’s no surprise that Carolina is deeper than Charleston, but that didn’t guarantee production off the bench. Carolina got that as they produced 29 bench points, compared to just 14 from Charleston. Day’Ron Sharpe led the way with 13 points and 10 rebounds, living up to the hype about him coming out of the program.
Carolina only committed 9 miscues, not a bad number for a season opener, when you’re breaking in your fourth point guard, in as many seasons. More importantly they forced 15 turnovers, and turned that into 21 points, another way this team generated offense. Roy Williams trapped as much as he’s ever done in November, and is something we’ll see more of this season. They also applied some full court pressure, as they’ll try to be more of a force on the defensive end of the floor.
3 Point Shooting:
Lastly, Carolina will leave this game knowing they’ll need better shooting performances when they head to Asheville for the Maui Invitational next week. The Tar Heels were just 4-18 from behind the arc, and no player made no more than one three pointer.